Whistle-blowing Truck Driver Exposes Law-Flouting Fracking Companies
Most television watchers have seen or heard the ads talking about how fracking creates jobs and those jobs are keeping “real” Americans’ communities alive. These ads often have a purported member of the community (extra points if it’s a grandmother or a hardworking dad) talking about how grateful they are to the fracking companies for saving their town. The subtext, of course, implies that people opposed to fracking must be indifferent to the survival of these communities, and snobbish or contemptuous towards people brave enough to do manual labor.
We were just tipped off to this video from a community meeting in Arkansas last year, when a truck driver stood up and exposed that poisonous false dichotomy for what it is. He calls the fracking industry “sick.” Please watch:
He’s a bit difficult to hear, so here’s a transcript:
I am a truck driver. I drove their water tankers. I am going to leave the names of these companies out of it. But I tell you right now, as the low man on the totem pole you are going to be right in the middle of it. It’s a sick industry.
Now, these drivers will not get up and stand up for their wages because their wages are better, they get $15 or $20 an hour; they think they are in high cotton. But just the same, anything I had to say, when they told me go clean a frac truck out, I said under OSHA regulations I’ve got to have a haz mat suit on. They laughed me out of it.
It’s a culture of fear that’s in the oil industry right now, similar to the coal miners in WV. That told ya’, well we really did not want to tell you the truth about how bad the coal mine is. It’s bad out there, too. A majority of people at your rally last weekend [a gas industry rally in 2011?], you know, “We’re for the industry! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Because we’re making money.” But I guarantee you what’s going on, they’re dumping illegally, they’ve got these, uh, now, I’m getting angry.
I have been a truck driver for 17 years over 48 states, a flatbed driver; used to work for wood haulers for eight years. This industry is a bunch of liars. Don’t believe what they have to say. And until we find out if this stuff is safe, we need to have a moratorium.
This courageous worker’s call for a moratorium is a life and death issue. Jose Lara was the first worker known to die from exposure to fracking chemicals. We know of workers in Pennsylvania who have severe chemical burns, welts all over their bodies, gastrointestinal pain, and life-threatening respiratory distress as a result of chemical exposure on the job.
Fracking companies’ demand that their workers make contact with, stand in, inhale, and at times get drenched with deadly chemicals — especially without a haz-mat suit — is criminal.